Warning: This could get deep.

3.29.2013

See these loving faces...these are my parents. Can we truly define parents with a simple sentence from the dictionary? I don't think so...but these are mine and they are much, much more than that simple definition from Mr. Webster
This is a warning: it is about to get a little serious up in here. Hope you don't mind. And if you do, just tune in next week for more lighthearted fun.

Lately I have become enthralled with this little corner of the blogsphere called "Wifessionals". The writer of this blog is an awesome woman who encourages her readers in all aspects of life. It is refreshing to read posts from someone who is going through the same walk of life I am. She just announced that she is pregnant. So exciting! It's been fun to read along with her new adventures into the parenting world.

That being said, after getting married, the world immediately turns and suggests that next come babies. Put on the brakes...babies? I'm 24 years young. There is no way I'm ready for a baby. It is crazy though, a week after the wedding we started receiving the spam mail from different sites all about babies and conceiving. Talk about a honeymoon buzz kill.
I don't want readers to think that I am anti children, or that I'm just selfish and wouldn't welcome a new bundle of joy into our family...wrong. If God chooses to bless us before we are ready then by all means bring on a babe. But He knows the timing and I'm thankful for that. He gets to bear my anxieties and carry burdens of mine about this topic. So you want to know why no babies? Here is where is gets deep...

There are a multitude of reasons as why starting a family is quite a few years out for Joe and I. Yes we want the time to grow together, spend money, go on vacations, be spontaneous etc. But the single biggest reason and biggest fear of mine is this world we would raise them in. Now I know that my audience has many different beliefs systems and I 100% respect yours, I'm just going to share mine. Take it or leave it, not going to hurt my feelings, I'll love you the same.
As some of my family and very close friends know, I think the world that we live in is spiraling out of control and that the end could be near. (If I lost a few of you after that sentence, I apologize) Personally, I would love to see Jesus come back in my lifetime, I'm ready take me now! But what terrifies me...absolutely puts a huge pit in my stomach is the thought of my children ever getting "left behind". Think I'm crazy yet?

Lets step back...or bunny trail as Joe likes to call it. My amazing mother-in-law is one of the most well versed individuals when it comes to the Bible. What I also love is that she instilled this love of the Word into my God fearing husband of mine. Isn't that awesome? I have learned more from the two of them than I have in any Sunday school class. One day at lunch Joe and his mom told me of the book of Revelations. Now I'm not going to give you a full synopsis because that would take DAYS. Basically there are signs of end times in our day in age and it could happen any day, week, month, year, centuries from now, but no one could predict the day, which is pretty cool to me. We talked about the plagues that will rock the Earth and that many people may have to suffer if not first taken in the rapture. That is when it hit me...

Sure, I am grounded enough in my Faith to believe where I will stand on judgement day, along with my husband's "fate". As a mother, it would be my responsibility to make sure that my child is raised in a solid Christian home, with a child like faith, who is a believer through and through. Ok, that might not be too hard. I think God can guide me to be at least that for my offspring. But the fact that even after all of that, my children have the free will to choose if they will give their life to Christ is absolutely terrifying.
What if they don't chose to follow their faith? Can you imagine what kind of weight would be left on a mother's shoulders? My worst fear would be to see them suffer, to have to endure pain and consequences for not following the footsteps that were rooted in their hearts from birth. Phew...it makes my stomach hurt as I type this. Every single time I think about this topic I hear a little voice that says this is exactly how God feels. He created us, gave us the world, showed us His glory and yet He still gave us free will to choose. We can choose to say no to everything He has given. It makes me reflect and see how many times I have said no to what was right and the disappointment I have not only caused my family, but my creator as well. Can you believe they still love me? I guess that is what love is about and I fear that I may not be able to be that perfect leader in my home. Sure you say I'm human, and as any, I have faults. But seriously guys...a human life is nothing to joke about. It is a commitment for life! Sure they are cute when they are little but parenting is not about those short sweet moments. It's about raising a leader both physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Phew!

Alright, officially stepping off my soap box. Do you have fears of being a parent one day? Am I completely the only one who feels this way? I'm sure my momma would have a heap of wisdom for me, and I just hope I can be the mother to my children like she has been for our family.

Enjoy your Easter weekend!
My lovely Mother-in-law and her wonderful Husband. Miss them!

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My Turn (for us)
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Traditions

3.28.2013

Short post today, but I have to confess something...and my family will laugh at me.
First let me give you the background story.

About, oh 12 or 15 years ago my entire mom's side of the family had come in town for Christmas. As usual, we were all gathered around the kitchen island filling our plates high with Christmas feast. All of a sudden we heard a crash boom bang! My "Grampi" had been juggling the salt and pepper shaker and the pepper shaker just didn't make it. RIP No, he wasn't actually juggling but you get the picture. Since this event we have NOT let it go in our household. We will always joke around and tell him that he has to use the plastic salt and pepper shaker when he is over at our house. It's good fun...until someone else breaks the pepper shaker.

Yes, you guessed right. I broke my brand new and super cute fiesta pepper shaker from the wedding. I was devastated to say the least. I didn't know that a pepper shaker could hold that much pepper. It was a mess. I ended up just laughing out loud because I thought of my Grampi and how I was now going to be on his side when razzed about the pepper shaker. Oh it's those little things in life that bring a smile to my face...no, not spilled pepper, but great memories with my family.

This Easter will be the first holiday spent away from family. Growing up in our household we had family traditions for everything. Easter traditions were filled with visits from the bunny, but the most memorable tradition and the one I cherish the most are our "Tomb Cookies".
This is a wonderful recipe to share the Easter story with anyone. Each step in the recipe is connected with a verse or story in the bible relating to Jesus' resurrection. The reason they are called tomb cookies is because after the are done baking, overnight, the cookies are hollow. This resembles the empty tomb that had been found the first Easter morning.

Here is the recipe that we use every year. I am excited to continue this tradition in our new household but, it's bittersweet because I won't be spending Easter with my family at home. Joe and I are starting a new tradition of our own this Easter which we will let you in on next week. Can't wait to share!


Empty Tomb Cookies

Make these on Easter Eve, right before bedtime for the kiddies. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees — this is VERY important. Read the corresponding Bible passage while adding the necessary ingredients. Serves 12, yields 1-2 dozen.

Ingredients

1 cup whole pecans, in a plastic bag
1 teaspoon vinegar
3 egg whites
1 pinch salt
1 cup sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Also, gather a cooking mallet, kitchen mixer, masking tape and Bible.
Read John 19:1-3 — Jesus was beaten for our sins; beat the nuts with a cooking mallet; set aside.
Read John 19:28-30 — Jesus drank something like vinegar (gall), sniff the fragrance, dip finger in and taste, too; place the vinegar in a mixing bowl.
Read John 10:10-11 — Egg whites symbolize Jesus' holy, innocent life; add whites to the bowl with the vinegar.
Read Luke 23:27 — The bitter tears of the women; taste a few grains of salt, remember your own sins; add the salt to the bowl.
Read Psalms 34:8 and John 3:16 — Sweet salvation! Taste the sugar; add to the bowl.
Crank up the mixer and let it go while you read from Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3; let the mixer go for about 12-15 minutes; this needs to be very stiff.
Read Matthew 27:57-60 — Fold the nuts into the egg-sugar mixture; this symbolizes the rocks in the garden. Using a scoop or knife and spoon, drop by spoon into mounds (to resemble a rocky tomb); put into the oven and turn it off.
Read Matthew 27:65-66 — The tomb is sealed; use two pieces of tape (5-6 inches long) to "seal" the door edges (symbolically).
Read John 16:20 and 22 - Consider these passages, then go to bed.
NEXT MORNING: Read Matthew 28:1-9 — Jesus is risen! Behold — the empty tomb! Unseal the oven door, take out the cookies, break or bite one in half — it should be hollow inside — empty — just like the Tomb! He is risen!


From our kitchen to yours,
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Tell me about your Easter traditions! Any new ones you will be sharing with your loved ones this year? Domestic Superhero

Chicken Sketti the Pioneer Way

3.26.2013

Another culinary creations for my blog followers today. This little gem is from the master chef herself The Pioneer Woman. Might I say ALL of her recipes are down right amazing. 
All fellow Pioneer lovers say "yeah!!"

I modified a few things from this recipe that follows.
Modifications: 
I cut this recipe in half since it was just the hubs and I.
Added an onion to the sauté pot with the mushrooms...yum
And used leftover italian dressing marinated chicken from this recipe.

I hope this helped you decide what's for dinner this evening. 

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Cut Up Fryer Chicken
  • 1 stick 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 16 ounces, weight White Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 1/4 cup Dry White Wine
  • Kosher Salt And Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Flour
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth (reserved From Chicken Or Canned)
  • 1-1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/4 cup (additional) Dry White Wine
  • 1 cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 cup Whole Black Olives, Chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt, Or To Taste
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Extra Cheese, For Sprinkling
  • 1 pound Thin Spaghetti

Preparation Instructions

Place chicken in a pot of water and boil on medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove chicken from pot and allow to cool slightly. Keep broth in pot.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Throw in mushrooms, add 1/4 cup white wine, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until liquid has totally evaporated. Remove mushrooms from skillet. Set aside.
Bring broth to a boil. Break spaghetti into thirds (shorter pieces). Add spaghetti pieces to boiling broth and cook. Drain when al dente. Remove meat from bones and shred until you have 2-plus cups of shredded chicken.
Return large skillet to medium-low heat. Add 6 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle flour over butter, whisking to combine. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes. Pour in 2 cups broth and whisk to combine. Pour in milk, additional 1/4 cup wine, salt and pepper to taste, then cook and bubble until thick. Turn off heat, add Parmesan cheese, and stir.
Add mushrooms, chicken, and chopped olives. Stir to combine and check seasonings. Add cooked spaghetti and stir.
Turn into a 9 x 13 casserole pan. Bake at 350 degrees or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve with salad and warm, crusty bread.






The goods

That "yumderful" saute I was talking about earlier

Prior to placing in oven

Viola! DELICIOUS masterpiece

P.S. I LOVE cooking with wine...yes I do. It's only responsible of the chef to sip on some of the goodness as her masterpiece cooks...right?  


From our kitchen to yours,
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All My Bloggy Friends

The Dreamer and the Realist

3.25.2013

One word to describe our weekend would be: calm.
And we loved every minute of it! Our lives have been go, go, go for about the past month so it was nice to just relax, catch up on each other's lives and take more naps then I would like to admit. Another highlight from this weekend was finally finishing up my resume and submitting a few job applications. Felt great! I can almost smell the money now...joking.

Speaking of money, Joe and I have been having house fever. Yes, as in first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a house, then a plant, then a pet, and THEN a baby...yes folks we are quite a ways away from the baby fever.
And I know, I know, we haven't even been here six months and we are already thinking about the next step. Not to worry though...we do have a two year lease to fulfill before any of these wild and crazy things happen. We might also have the fever because my parents are currently in the market for a new home so we have been house hunting with them. Let's just say I love the housing market much, much more in Texas than in New York. Maybe not love, you just get more bang for your buck! And brick...there are not many homes with brick up here. Adjustment for sure.

So here enters the dreamer and the realist.
Dreamer:
Here we are on Sunday night catching up on some March Madness. I'm laying on the couch with my head in Joe's lap and my eyes closed. Saying things like "A three bedroom would give us a master bedroom, guest bedroom, and then an office which could eventually turn into a nursery one day. Or, I would love granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The walls could be this color, and I would have a garden in the back filled with spices. And a fenced in back yard so we can have a dog"....you get the picture

Realist:
Suddenly out of no where, my dream bubble gets popped when I hear Joe say that in order to buy a house we must have a substantial downpayment, and that would call for us to live even more frugally than we are now. And when I get a job I could save this, this and this and we could forget about that vacation here....again you get the picture. And he was in no way being dramatic, and I hope I don't paint him in that light!
Oh finances...one of the many dreaded topics in my book. We were throwing around things like, should we continue to rent, and pay off all of our debt 100%? Or should we save for a down payment on a house that will turn into an investment that could possibly pay out if/when we move back to Texas?

Immediately I stopped his train of thought and said "babe, but I'm dreaming here. Won't you let me dream?" He laughed and said but you're always dreaming. He said,  "I want you to know what is needed to be financially set for our future"....God bless this man. He keeps me accountable and helps me to live in this little thing called a real world. I think I like to dream so much and fear the actual "talk" because I never wan't to feel like I can't achieve one of my dreams. I was like this during the wedding as well. Just ask my mom. I would have the greatest dreams but when it came to materializing them, I would shrink and not want to spend too much or the idea would suddenly become absurd in my head. I hope this is making sense to someone.

I am often thankful that Joe is my realist, especially when it comes to the pocket book. Even God knows that we are not ready for such large decisions and for that I am thankful and will enjoy this beautiful home and space that we have now for another two years. Phew! This is just another silly example of what we are learning daily in our marriage.



Who is the realist and who is the dreamer in your household?
From our cozy home to yours this Monday,
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Motivating Monday Link Up at CEO of Me

Oh Spring...Where are you?

3.22.2013

If the amount of blog posts is hinting to you how badly I need it to be Spring so I can be outdoors...you're absolutely correct. I am just being teased up here. Everyone I have come in contact with lately keeps saying oh you must do this, but wait until the summer. Have you gone here yet? Oh, well it's better in the summer! Sorry that's not open yet, wait until summer. ARGH It was summer in Texas about two months ago! Rant over...

How about a little fashion for your Friday? Just a quick couple of pictures


Headband: F21 {here}, Sunglasses: H&M: {similar}, Black top and tribal leggings: Love Culture {wanting these}, Tribal Sling: Antique Attic Thrift {Cute option from F21}, Wool Socks: Eddie Bauer, Boots: Marshalls {want these}

As I was climbing up our retaining wall, I was hoping to act like the snow was lava and that I could not step in it....maybe that will make it go away?


What would you like to see on the blog?
Pictures of the new place? Crafts? DIY? Thrift store successes? Guest posts?
YOU name it!


Until next time
From our home to yours,

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Linking up with this fashionista today!

Little Letters: Boston Style

3.21.2013

Today I thought I would spice it up a bit as far as formatting goes. Remember my earlier "Little Letters" post over {here}? Well I am going to do "Little Letters" Boston Style this time to showcase what an awesome time I had with some great gals!

Background: This trip was a continuation of my younger sister's spring break trip and a St. Patty's getaway for Ali and Alex Tia. And I can tell you that I don't think I have had that much fun in the span of one weekend in a long time. So much fun, that I'm still catching up on sleep. We were constantly on the move and probably got more exercise walking the streets of Boston than I have in way too long.

We stayed in Woburn Mass and traveled into the city everyday via the T. It was only a quick ten minute trip and worth the adventure! We did some sightseeing, followed the Freedom trail where I turned into my dorky history loving self and told stories of my favorite New England town.

If you have never visited Bahhston, I highly suggest it. It is full of history, great food, impressive sights, and an overall good time. My favorite time of year to visit is in the summer, but we did pretty well with the weather on this trip. Lots of layers!
So onto the pictures and "Little Letters" of Boston. Enjoy!

Dear Boston, Thank you for only being three hours away from Rensselaer, and a great {and cheap} hub for flights from Texas!

Dear Paul Revere, Thank you for your ride, that cold night to warn the others that the "British are coming, the British are coming". I also apologize that we did get your name mixed up at times...John Rivera. I'm sure you are understanding



Dear North End, Thank you for having the world's best Pizza and Cannoli's. Regina's Pizza and Mike's Pastry are the spots to hit while in the North End.




Dear Salem Mass, I really love your town and how they embrace your history. The witch museum was great and we wish we could come back for halloween!


Dear Cheers, thank you for having your hometown in Boston for us to enjoy, as well as serving Boston's own Sam Adam's Alpine Spring...great brew!



Dear Harvard, what an awesome campus you have! Why must your tuition be so expensive? Are you currently taking applications for a Post Doc chemist and wannabe grad student? Please take my offer into consideration. Oh and Thank you for the Queen's head. One word...karaoke!


Dear Harvard Chemists, what a great group you are! And Dan Nocera... here's your shout out! Team up with my hubby, he has some great new research for your lab!

Dear Faneuil Hall, Thank you for having great St. Patty's spirit; we noticed your hard work.



Dear sweet friends of mine, won't you come back soon? We had too much fun and I just want to go back to the Hideout and make more friends!


Dear Bahstonians, we truly love your accents and did try to mimic them a lot of the time. Do forgive us if ours turned into a British accent when trying too hard. 

Dear seafood lovers, if you ever visit Boston you MUST visit the Union Oyster House. The best clam chowder I have ever had and great oysters...I tried my first one!



  Thank you Boston, you never disappoint!

Hope you enjoyed our trip! Have you ever been to Boston? What was your favorite part?

From NY, to Boston, to Texas and back,
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Little by Little
Loves on a Thursday

Senses

3.19.2013

Five Senses for Today: Hearing: the intense windy blizzard currently dropping another 4-6 inches in my backyard. Yes another...we got about 3 inches last night as well, Seeing: My handsome hubby play Mass Effect 2...not quite sure what this is and watching the new Twisted premiere after that INTENSE Pretty Little Liars episode, Tasting:  my copykat Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi soup. Will definitely be posting this recipe soon, Smelling: The above soup and delightful garlic bread, Touching: my favorite green and white fleece couch blanket

So I was completely bummed when I didn't even have a close up picture of that gorgeous little sister of mine while we were traveling...bad big sister! 
Missing her already!

Tonight I figure I would share an EASY recipe that many of you might have seen on Pinterest. 

Let's just call it "Easy Chicken"
This recipe yields about 4 servings. Enough for the two of us for two nights

Ingredients:
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 medium sized red potatoes 
2 handfulls of fresh green beans
1 packet dry italian dressing
1 stick of butter

Optional: I chose to marinate our chicken overnight with italian salad dressing and a little garlic salt.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Chop potatoes into 1 inch cubs and trim tops of green beans after washing.

Arrange both veggies on either side of 9x13 baking dish

Arrange chicken in the middle of baking pan. I included the italian dressing that was in the ziploc used for marinating 

Mix packet of dry italian dressing into melted stick of butter
Pour this yummy goodness on top of chicken and veggies. 
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Viola! It was an amazing dish, especially the fresh green beans. 

Let me know if you make this and how it turns out!

Stay tuned for the Boston post next time. For now, we will try and hang this blizzard out and pray for some sun on the first day of Spring tomorrow.

From our home to yours,
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Jam Hands